Tory discusses election strategy

TOP Tory Tim Yeo today said he had discussed his party election strategy with party leader Michael Howard at the weekend - but denied there was any panic setting in.

TOP Tory Tim Yeo today said he had discussed his party election strategy with party leader Michael Howard at the weekend - but denied there was any panic setting in.

There were reports yesterday that senior members of the shadow cabinet had spoken to Mr Howard over the weekend to express their concern about the way the campaign was being run - and the emphasis being placed on immigration and asylum as an issue.

Mr Yeo, who was campaigning in with Ipswich hopeful Paul West, said he did not recognise the description of “panic” in the party ranks.

“Members of the shadow cabinet routinely call back to central office and discuss the campaign with the leadership.

“Not just us - but party strategists and senior party workers. We keep the party leaders in touch with what is happening on the ground,” Mr Yeo said.

“But I really don't recognise this description of a panic-filled ring-around, it's just an analysis of what we're finding. We tell them what is going down well and what could be changed.”

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Despite a number of opinion poll setbacks, Mr Yeo remained confident that the party would do much better in this election than in either 1997 or 2001.

He said: “Everywhere I go, I am finding people are thoroughly fed up Mr Blair and they are not voting Labour this time.

“Some are staying at home, some are voting Liberal - but a sizeable number are coming straight across to vote for us.

“I am convinced that this election will be very different from the last two - that's why we are pushing so hard to win in seats like Ipswich. It is a real winnable target this time.”

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